JN Recap – Jets Drop OT Loss In TO

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© Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

At least the game – for the most part – lived up to the hype.

The rookies were good, the defense was spotty and the teams went back and forth trading goals. In the end the Toronto Maple Leafs out-lasted the Winnipeg Jets by a 5-4 score in a pretty entertaining contest.

Not the way many wanted this team to go into the mandated players break, but all things considered this wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened either.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

GAME THOUGHTS

Laine picked up two goals, Matthews got three asists (all primary if that’s supposed to count for anything extra) so there is your big rookie head-to-head match up update. Both kids were great, both had a mistake or two, both had some cutch plays. Same as the last time these two teams met really only this time you gotta give the nod to Auston.

The other big takeaway you can have from this game is that this was all kinds of chippy and between the chirping on social media between fan bases and the media hype and the actual play on ice, this feels like a real budding rivalry. There will be those that say this can’t be a rivalry due to the nature of them being in different conferences, but if anything that makes these matchups even more spcial due to the rarity of them meeting. Don’t think these teams can get heated at each other right away? You’ve never seen Kadri or Byfuglien play at their borderline “filthy” best have you? This was as much “fun” as a loss could have been.

We knew going into this game that the Jets would be in tough with a very thin lineup on defense due to the Trouba suspension and it showed. Toronto dominated in posession numbers and shots taken pretty much all game as you can see by the charts below. Melchiori isn’t anywhere close to NHL ready, Stuart would be in the prss box if the Jets had a healthy group of defensemen. Postma is ok and Paul Maurice for whatever reason doesn’t seem to want to try and give him any more minutes than the bare minimum (like 9:07 of ice time minimum) which is just puzziling. Perhaps Mauice didn’t want a Postma – Chiarot pairing or something, who the heck knows. Byfuglien and Morrissey tried to carry this team to a decent night but with Buff having to babysit Melchiori and Morrissey getting little help from Chiarot, they too were handcuffed.

Hellebuyck was as good as you could expect behind that defense. That first goal against right out of the gate was a stinker and one he may see in his nightmares for the next week, but after that he did as best as he could with a defense that left too many Leafs wide open all night. The hope though is that this road swing where he backstopped his team to 6 out of a possible 8 points is enough to get Pavelec out of the picture. Warts and all, this should be Helle’s team to run with and having stopped 32 of 37 shots, I thought he gave the Jets a chance to win the game.

Overall the top six forwards for the Jets were ok but did the 3rd and 4th lines even show up for the game? The Matthias / Armia / Lowry line was very disapointing and needs to be better. Maurice doesn’t seem to have any faith in the Jets 4th line of Petan / Thorburn / Tanev which for two-thirds of that line may be understandable but again Petan is wasted for another night. He at least got some special teams time in, but he along with Postma are so under-utilized, it’s beyond silly.

As much teeth gnashing as their might be with the week off, this couldn’t have come at a better time for the Jets and especially Blake Wheeler who looks all kinds of banged up out there and going at about 3/4ths speed – especially on the OT goal where it looked like the entire unit was gassed and ready for some down time.

CHARTS N STUFF

Courtesy of Hockeystats.ca

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